Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common cause of balance problems for Pennsylvania patients. This condition is often triggered by minor head movements and can make regular daily activities very challenging.

BPPV causes about half of all vertigo cases amongst older adults and a fifth of all cases overall.

If you have developed BPPV, the tiny calcium deposits located on the otolithic membrane in your inner ear have dislodged. These tiny particles, which are called canaliths, then drift into the fluid-filled cochlea and shift when move your head, even slightly. When the canaliths shift within the cochlea, it causes you to experience intense episodes of dizziness and vertigo.

Causes and Symptoms of BPPV

It’s not always easy to identify the cause of benign positional vertigo. Pennsylvania patients sometimes develop the condition due to inner ear infections, prolonged bed rest, migraines or head injuries. Aging can also cause the development of BPPV. The most common symptom of BPPV is vertigo. Other signs of the condition include lightheadedness, blurred vision, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Diagnosing and Treating BPPV

When you visit ASK Physicians Hearing Centers for vertigo symptoms, we’ll begin the diagnostic process with a physical exam and a series of balance tests. These tests will reveal whether your problem with vertigo is originating in your inner ear. Once you receive a definitive diagnosis, treatment will begin.

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Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is the most common treatment option for curing BPPV. It works to desensitize your inner ear’s balance system to problematic movements and retrain your central nervous system and brain to sync signals from your vestibular and vision systems. Your VRT plan for BPPV will be unique to your particular problems, concerns and symptoms. During your VRT, you’ll likely learn how to perform repositioning maneuvers such as the Epley maneuver. Repositioning maneuvers are special sets of movements that remove the canaliths from your inner ear canal fluid. These can often provide complete relief for patients in a few quick and easy treatments, resolving symptoms of BPPV.

If repositioning maneuvers are ineffective in treating your BPPV at our Havertown or Paoli balance clinics, medication or surgery may be considered. In some cases, gentamicin, an antibiotic, is effective in treating BPPV. If not, surgery on the posterior semicircular canal occlusion or the vestibular nerve section may relieve your vertigo.